Recent update from London’s Sotheby reports the auction of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s lock of hair. Sotheby is considered as world’s largest auction house which was first established in London in 11 March 1744. The British founded American multinational company is headquartered in New York and is named after one of its co-founder John Sotheby.
The substantial lock of Beethoven’s hair will allegedly raise up to £15,000 ($19,000). However, experts speculate it could sell for more than the estimated price. According to the background story, the legendary composer cut off a lock and gave it to his pianist friend in 1826. The lock was a gift to the pianist’s wife, which was a common practice in those days.
Simon Maguire, the director of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s narrated the anecdote in connection to the auction. Austrian pianist Anton Halm wanted the lock for his wife for keepsake. But Beethoven’s servant had instead sent the hair of goat which had infuriated Beethoven.
“And he then gave (Halm), in a piece of paper, a lock of hair that he had just himself cut from the back of his head, a substantial lock. And he said this one at least you can be sure is genuine,” Maguire commented.
According to the anecdote, the lock was passed on to Julius Epstein, a student of Anton Halm. Epstein was a piano professor at the Vienna Conservatory. Reports suggest the authenticity of the lock was confirmed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer, author of the first scholarly biography of Beethoven.
Previously lock of popular artists and personalities have been auctioned by Sotheby, these include locks of British naval legend Horatio Nelson, composers Frederic Chopin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However Beethoven’s lock attracted interest because it is quite a substantial lock, others only had a few strands of hair. This was the second time Sotheby had auctioned Beethoven’s hair, previously a smaller lock taken from the composer’s death bed was sold.